Number observed: 1
Details: A very dark-mantled Mew Gull with dark amber iris, extensive black on p8, trailing edge that narrows at inner primaries, and some black on p4. Head and bill not the largest for a Kam (initially threw me off the scent of Kam in the field), but well within range including a bit of a “snouty” look. Mantle shade consistently dark as images illustrate (not a product of light or angle). In fact, light was flat, if not fading fast as sunset approached. Primary pattern best fits Kam and may be diagnostic, but poor photo quality doesn’t allow for detail such as extent of black on outer web of p8. Body size difficult to judge due to being packed in tightly with RBGUs, but seemed similar in size.
Off for canus: dark upperparts, dark amber iris, snouty head, black on p4.
Off for heinei: pattern of head/nape streaking, less black on p7 than the majority show
Brachy can be ruled out by primary pattern (amount of black on p8, narrowing of trailing edge at inner primaries) and quality of head/nape streaking.
Lacks the shawl of basic plumaged Kam, but we are now into March and this bird is possibly/likely on its way to breeding plumage. Bill is on dull side for Kam, but within range.
This may not be a slam dunk ID thanks to quality of views and photos, but there is nothing out of range for Kam, and several marks are in fact strongly supportive of that ID – particularly primary pattern and upperpart color.
Don’t think we can completely rule out this being the Stamford Kam from earlier this winter, though that bird gave me a brutish head/bill vibe, and this bird does not.Media:
Number observed: 900
Number observed: 800